Combine culture and beach on this coast to coast journey from the toe to the heel of Southern Italy.
Welcome to Basilicata
Your trip begins in Maratea, a wonderfully scenic hilltop town backed by mountains and with views of the sparkling sea below. Wander the lanes of the beautiful historic centre, visit some of the numerous churches, then watch the world go by from a café in the main piazza. Great walking opportunities await inland, as do the sleepy villages of Lagonegro and Rivello. Basilicata’s nearby rocky coastline is home to serene seaside towns like Acquafredda and Fiumicella, where you’ll find plenty of sumptuous fish-specialist trattorias.
Drive inland for a stay in Matera, a UNESCO-listed town famed for its ancient cave-dwellings. Its cinematic landscape has served as the backdrop for many a biblical epic, and was also the setting for Carlo Levi’s Christ Stopped at Eboli. Once evidence of the town’s acute poverty, many of the caves have now been transformed into stylish wine bars and boutique cave-hotels.
Here you can explore the hundreds of stone and bronze age caves, alongside a host of impressive churches and museums. It’s well worth a visit to the town’s towering cathedral to see the stunning 13th century Byzantine frescoes.
Cross over into Puglia to round off your road trip, where you can choose to stay in a coastal resort or a converted masseria (fortified farmhouse). Explore the whitewashed hilltop towns of Ostuni and UNESCO-listed Alberobello, where you’ll see the iconic trullo houses, famed for their striking conical roofs, for which the region is known. You’ll find beautiful sandy beaches, inviting beach bars and wonderful restaurants in abundance, as well as charming coastal towns like Gallipoli and Trani.